Mount Elgon National park is a national park 140 kilometers (87 mi ) northeast of Lake Victoria, the park covers 1279 square kilometers (494 sq. mi) and is bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda, the Ugandan part of the park covers 1,110km2(430 sq. mi) while the Kenyan part covers 169km2 (65 sq. mi). The Ugandan part was gazette in 1992 while the Kenyan part in 1968.
Mount Elgon has been the largest base in the world at 3840km2, it is also the largest solitary volcanic mountain in East Africa located in Eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya, the Mount Elgon national park covers an area of 1145km2, the national park was declared a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, the main tourist attraction is mountain biking to the caldera with the highest peak Wagagai at 4321 meters, Sudek at 4303 meters, Koitobos at 4222 meters and Mubiyi at 4210 meters.
Attractions of Mount Elgon national park.
Mount Elgon’s slopes are comprised of various caves left by moving lava and erosion of soft volcanic deposits that erupted some years back. The most accessible of these caves are Kapkwai cave is near the forest exploration center, Khauka cave on Wanale Ridge. Long ago the precious features acted as shelters for livestock of the local people who were the traditional in habitat of the mountain.
Jackson’s Pool and Jackson’s Peak.
Jackson’s Pool which is said to be standing at 4,050 meters is a natural pool occupied by the shallow waters, the pool lies in the low land of the 4,165 meters high Jackson’s Peak, afree-standing volcanic plug rising from the western flank of the mountain. These physical features were named after the explore Fredrick Jackson , who in 1889 was the first European to climb Mount Elgon, the peak has a traditional attachments to the locals since they use it as spot to communicate with their ancestors who left them long time.
Mount Elgon’s vegetation is banded into broad zones whose characteristics are dictated by the altitude and rainfall, the lower mountain slopes are covered with dense forest and regenerating forests, hung with vine-like lianas, epiphytes and lichens, the floor is covered with a carpet of ferns, orchids and flowering plants. The common tree species encountered in the tropical Montane forest (1500-2500 meters) are olive Oleahochstetteri, Prunus Africanus, Elgon teak, Podocarpus, ceder, Cordia, Neoboutania, allophyllus tombea and Aningueriaadolfi-frieericii. The park has well is covered by Bamboo merges into woodland, African rosewood at 2500 to 3000 meters and then the Afro-alpine zone 3500 to 4,321 meters has Erica tree, giant lobelias with hairy leaves and plumes of tiny blue flowers and many others.
The northern and western sides of Mount Elgon national park rise in a series of massive basalt cliffs, often several kilometers in length over which the mountain’s rivers plunge as beautiful waterfalls, the best known are the three waterfalls at Sipi in the Kapchorwa road, just outside the park that offers good attractions to the tourists who come for tourism.
Forest Exploration center.
The forest Exploration center at Kapkwai is about 13km from Sipi town and it doubles as an educational center for the schools and the trailhead for climbers using the Sipi trail to the caldera. Three circuits of between 3 to 7 kilometer run through the surrounding regenerating forest, where the visitors can visit caves, waterfalls, escarpments and viewpoints and observe birds and primates.
Mount Elgon national park is a birding destination best for a bird tour in Uganda, the park has over 300 bird species and 40 Ugandan species, Lammergeyer, Black-shouldered Kite, Tacazze sunbird, Jacksons Francolin that includes Hartaub’s Turaco, Lemon Dove, Dusky-Turtle Dove, African Hill Babbler, Alpine Chat, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Thick-billed Honey guide, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon and many more.
Scenic viewpoints outside the park.
Adetour to Bulago off the Mbale-Sipi road reveals a village standing high above a waterfall facing the Simu valley towards Butandiga ridge, the route to Kapchorwa beyond Sipi Falls to the north provides a stunning view towards Mount Kadam and the vast plains of Karamoja.
Mount Elgon national park has a variety of wildlife with a lot of animal species like the elephants, Oribi, Bushbuck, Buffalos, Spotted hyena, Black and white monkey, colobus monkeys, Defassa waterbuck and many others.
Activities done in Mount Elgon national park.
Bird watching in Mount Elgon national park gives you species that you cannot find where else, the Common trail is one in Kapkwai forest exploration center, which continues along Chenonent river, other bird species that can be seen includes the White-chinned Prinia, Luhders, Doherty’s Bush Shrikes, Chubb’s Cisticola, African Goshawk, Africa blue Flycatcher and many more.
Mount Elgon national park offers sport fishing at the highest of the Sipi falls, there is an opportunity for the activity which keeps you busy as some of the locals join you, the activity provides a good challenge to anyone interested in the rainbow trout, don’t forget to bring your fishing equipment’s and obtain a permit from Sipi river lodge.
Nature and Hiking walks.
Nature and hiking walks are done through Budadiri to Mudange cliffs, which is known as the walls of earth, these cliffs are located in a tropical forest at the boundary of the Mount Elgon national park as well you can be able to spot Black and white Colobus monkeys and Baboons along the trail. Also there are numerous trails both inside the park and outside walking through Mount Elgon vegetation, at sipi falls from the community take you on walks that can start from two hours to a whole day’s walk where you will have views of the Karamojong region and Sebei region.
Mountain Elgon national park and Kapchorwa provides the great mountain biking routes that will keep your adrenaline high as you traverse the area, the mountain biking routes start from Sipi trading center to Chema hill in Kapchorwa as you have beautiful views of Karamoja plains and several waterfalls enroute.
Abseiling is done down on the cliffs of the Sipi falls, here you can drop down 100 meters overlooking the ridge next to a pool of water from one of the Sipi falls, as well you can enjoy watching the different a scenery as you abseil down the rock, on reaching down you can take a dip in the pool before ascending back up the cliff to the top of the hill.
Mount Elgon national park is generally less strenuous climb like East African Mountains but offers same scenic views, the park is explored on foot through different routes and traiheads ranging from day walks to hikes over several days. The Sasa trail is the shortest but steepest route to the peaks asking only four days that is bamboo forest and Jackson’s pool. Sipi trail takes four to six days, starts at the forest exploration center at Kapkwai-tutum cave. The Piswa trail is a seven day round trip starting at a village off Kapkwata-podocars forest, one as well can combine the different trails, ascending by Sipi trail and descending along Sasa trail allowing you to experience more features of the mountain.
Entrance fees of Mount Elgon National Park.
|Category||Foreign Non Residents(USD)||Foreign Residents(USD)||East Africa Citizen(UGX)|
|Ugandan Pupils and or Students (Groups)||NA||NA||1500|
Best time to visit Mount Elgon National Park.
The best time to visit Mount Elgon National park is during the dry season from June to August and December to March seasons.
Where to stay in Mount Elgon National Park.
Mount Elgon national park has suitable accommodation facilities for the guests during their visit to the park. The accommodations are arranged in Budget, Mid-range, and Luxury like the Mount Elgon Hotel, Mbale Resort Hotel, Sipi River lodge, Kayegi Hotel, Mount Elgon View Hotel, Masha Hotel, Noah’s Ark Hotel and many others.
How to get to Mount Elgon National Park.
Mountain Elgon can be reachable by both the Air and Road transport from Kampala to the park.
By Road means.
You can travel by car from Kampala to Mount Elgon through the Jinja high way to reach to main destination, Mountain Elgon National Park which can last within 10 hours drive.
By Flight means.
The flight can take 1 hr. and 15 minutes from Entebbe Airport or 1 hour to Mount Elgon National Park.
Mount Elgon national park has the largest volcanic base in the world, for the best Uganda safari located on the Uganda-Kenya border, the park is the oldest and largest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa, its vast form 80km in diameter, rises more than 3000 meters above the surrounding.